If you love art and nature, there’s a hidden gem in Western New York called the Griffis Sculpture Park.
Over the river and through the woods, you’ll find a new experience and a new sculpture. And if you’re not careful on your way to East Otto, nearly an hour from the City of Buffalo, you might just miss it. It is a hike, so come prepared…
Griffis Sculpture Park has been around for a little more than 50 years. The founder, Larry Griffis Jr., died in 2000, but left this lasting legacy.
Griffis’ vision came from a trip his family took to Italy, where he saw children climbing on old ruins. He thought there should be a park like that where people could touch and climb sculptures.
The park started at Kissing Bridge Ski Resort in Colden in the mid-1960s and was there for about two years before it made its way to Ashford Hallow in East Otto in 1968.
Today, there are more than 250 sculptures sitting on about 450 acres of land.
Fun fact: This is actually one of the oldest and largest sculpture parks in America.
From the bathers to insects, you can touch and even climb many of the pieces of art. And because it’s outdoors, many people say it’s the perfect place to social distance while enjoying some family fun.
Doug Sitler with the Ashford Hallow Foundation, which owns and operates the park, says they’ve had a record number of visitors in the last few months.
“We’re getting a lot of families, lot of regular visitors from Rochester, I mean not only the Buffalo area and Rochester, but we just had a family from Cleveland who came over just to see it,” Sitler said.
But it’s also a learning experience and great for children of all ages.
“You have those discussions about what do you think this sculpture is and then you can kind of go back forth because everyone sees things differently just as in life,” Sitler said.
The park is open from dawn until dusk until Halloween. They ask for donations: $5 for adults and $3 for children. People are encouraged to wear masks.